AN: This was totally spur of the moment and I haven't written for DW in ages and it's half two in the morning and this is probably awful but I needed to deal with that last scene from the Christmas special so if you're reading I hope you enjoy, kbye.
Clara was in pieces.
The man before her, the ridiculous, confused man, knew nothing of the life he had just left behind, nor of the one he was living in that moment. This man could not possibly be the Doctor.
The TARDIS was crashing.
The Doctor was clever and witty and he knew everything. That man was not the Doctor.
The TARDIS was crashing.
She flew to the console, her mind replaying the Doctor's change repeatedly, the suddenness of it leaving her in a state of shock. Then there were the moments before, the Doctor seeing the strange woman called Amelia who wasn't really there at all, dropping his bowtie to the floor, his final words echoing in her head: 'I will always remember when the Doctor was me'.
Except he didn't remember, and he was flapping his arms around like a headless chicken and Clara was left pounding the console, her thoughts driving her completely mad as she cursed just how unfair the situation was.
"Take me home!" she said, hitting each and every random button, lever or slidey-thing she could reach. As her clenched fist connected with a big blue button, the TARDIS stopped malfunctioning, the sparks stopped flying and the entire thing stabilised, leaving Clara alone with the not-Doctor with only the wheezing of TARDIS travel to break the silence.
"If that show was anything to go by," the man said, "I'd guess that you don't really know how to fly this thing."
"You," Clara said, pointing an accusing finger at him, "You are not the Doctor."
"Isn't that what I call myself?" he asked, looking mildly amused yet still confused.
"I don't care what you call yourself," Clara was all too aware of her trembling voice, "You're not him. You can't be him."
"I changed!" the man protested, "I told you: new kidneys! I really don't-"
"Like the colour, yes you said," Clara snapped. She was cracking more by the second and she found herself torn between needing to get away from the man who couldn't possibly be the Doctor and needing to be in the TARDIS because, if the Doctor wasn't there, and he had to be somewhere in the universe, only the TARDIS could help her, because the Doctor was always there.
Except right there, right then, the Doctor wasn't there. And Clara realised, somewhere in the back of her mind, that perhaps he never would be.
The TARDIS landed shortly after and Clara fell through the doors and stumbled onto the field, unable to ignore the ridiculous feeling of déjà vu.
"Are you sure you won't stay for tea?" the man's head appeared out of the door.
"No I will not stay for tea!" Clara replied angrily. With that, she stomped away and ignored the fact that she didn't hear the TARDIS disappear behind her.
She climbed the stairs with a ferocity that she hadn't felt since she was a small child, and seemed to only be brought out by facing stairs whilst being completely, irrevocably angry at someone. She also felt a sudden desire to storm to her bedroom and slam the door behind her, but she reminded herself that she was not a stubborn child anymore and oh, God, she had family at the dining table.
Aside from the fact that the Doctor, her Doctor, was gone, and that had taken something that felt essential away from her, she now also had to deal with the fact that she was really, truly, boyfriendless, with no one to call to fill the vacancy.
And she had cried, in front of her dad, and her gran and... Clara shuddered involuntarily: Linda.
She loved her dad to pieces but that woman was just impossible. And she was just going to leave it at that.
Clara entered the room slowly, where her family were still at the table. "You... you stayed put. I told you to and you... did." Clara was used to looking after Angie and Artie (those two were impossible to keep an eye on) and the Doctor, after all; she wasn't used to having people follow her orders.
"Oh, she's finally back," Linda said sarcastically, "So wonderful of you to join us again, leaving us sat here for an hour without an explanation..."
"Yes, I did. And I don't have a boyfriend, either. The Doctor wasn't my boyfriend in the first place and it doesn't matter because he's gone now and I don't know where. So, that's that. Anything else you'd like to pick on, or can I live my life without being criticised?" the three adults at the table were silent, Clara's gran smiling proudly, Linda looking horrified and Clara's dad looking down with a very pointed 'I'm staying out of this' expression on his face.
"Well, then," Clara murmured, "I'll be in my room."
And as she walked to her room, there was that feeling again: wanting to close the door as hard as she possibly could. However, knowing that this would simply satisfy Linda's ever-growing disapproval of her, Clara settled for closing it a little bit harder than normal and left it at that.
She collapsed onto her bed, lying on her side and clutching an old stuffed bear close to her; it had been a gift from her gran when she was really little, and she had never had the heart (nor a good enough reason) to part with it. She laid there, the bear held tightly to her chest, as the tears started to fall.
The Doctor was gone, or the Doctor as she knew him. She'd begged him not to change, but he'd changed anyway. Hadn't he cared? Hadn't he cared that she couldn't lose him?
She knew, somewhere in the back of her mind, of all the times she'd saved him. All his different faces, all of the different hers, wandering through his time line, always there to help him on his way whenever he slipped up, and she was the last of those hers that she knew of. Except this time, when she'd done the only thing she could to save him, she'd failed.
That was the thought she eventually fell asleep with, and the Doctor couldn't leave his Impossible Girl like that.
"You didn't fail."
Clara bolted upright, finding the Doctor, her Doctor leaning casually against the wall, facing her with that little smile on his face that he always wore when he was pleased with himself. He was throwing his screwdriver into the air repeatedly, not watching it twirl, but being proud of himself as it did.
"What?" she uttered, shocked, "But... you were gone!"
"I'll never be gone," he said, the smile disappearing as his face turned seriously, "I said it, didn't I? I'll always remember when the Doctor was me. But now it's someone else's turn. I've had my time, Clara; my Impossible Girl. You've seen my faces, all twelve of 'em. I was just the first one you remember seeing."
"You changed," Clara said accusingly, "I asked you, begged you not to, but you still did!"
"If I hadn't changed, I wouldn't be here at all," the Doctor reasoned, moving the sit on the bed next to her, leaning his elbows on his knees as he pocketed his screwdriver, "You might not have saved this me, but you saved the Doctor, just like you always have. That me, the new me, is going to have a tough ride. Literally: he had as much of a clue of how to fly the TARDIS as I did ten faces ago, only, this time, he hasn't got a clever granddaughter to help him out."
"You changed." Clara repeated angrily.
"Yes, yes, alright," the Doctor said exasperatedly, "I'm sorry! But I had to help, them, Clara! The people in the town called Christmas! I was on my last face – I should have died a long time ago, but I wasn't ready. It was selfish of me and I know that, so this time I knew I couldn't run. I knew I needed to make my last years the best ones. Isn't that what you humans are always on about? Making the most of the life you've got? That's what I was doing!"
"You sent me away!" Clara said, standing up to face him off angrily, "Twice! Even after you promised not to! You betrayed me and you left me alone and..." she stopped, breathing heavily, "I needed you to be you, for me. Not just to be my boyfriend, or to take me on wild adventures. To keep me safe, Doctor! Because, after all this time, after all your faces and all the different me's, and all the wild adventures... you've always kept me safe. And now there's a new you who hasn't got a clue-" she paused as she caught the Doctor's eye and that twinkle appeared; the one that was always there when they realised something funny or shared a joke.
"That rhymed," he said quietly, and they both burst into laughter as Clara ran to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. He hugged her back, holding her close as they laughed, not letting go even when the joke had been forgotten.
"How is the new you supposed to keep me safe?" Clara asked quietly, her breath tickling his ear.
"By learning how to," the Doctor told her. Clara stepped back.
"This isn't... you're not really you, are you?" she asked, frowning slightly, "I'm dreaming, aren't I?"
"Dreams aren't always as not-real as you think," he told her, the small smile returning.
"You want me to go to the new you?" Clara asked desperately, "To help him? How?!" the Doctor smiled wider.
"By doing what you always do. Clara Oswald, the Doctor's saviour, forever and for always. Teach him to be adventurous. Teach him to get himself in all kinds of trouble. Teach him to do things wrong. You told me once, to take the Type 40 TARDIS because it was broken. You taught me to have fun and I didn't even realise it."
He paused as she stood there, looking at him in a way that she never had, before turning towards her bedroom door slightly, "Clara Oswald, the Impossible Girl: be you. Always be you and don't you ever change, not in the slightest. I've got to run, but Clara," he started to approach the door and then stopped again, "I will always remember."
They shared a smile, a smile that held just the right amount of finality to show that this was the end, and yet their story was so far from over.
"Doctor," Clara stopped him one last time, knowing that she needed to say one more thing to him, before her went. He stopped, glancing over his shoulder to look at her, "I really like your bowtie."
The Doctor smiled a smile that he'd been longing to smile since adopting his little bowtie, his hands automatically coming up to fix the accessory, despite knowing that it looked fine.
"Bowties are cool." He agreed with a nod, before walking out the door and closing it quietly behind him.
That sound brought Clara back to the real world, though there her door was opening.
"Clara?" she glanced up to find her dad poking his head around the door. She looked to the spot where the Doctor had stood at the start of her dream and found the empty space she'd expected.
"You can come in," she said as her dad hesitated in the doorway, "I won't bite." He looked slightly relieved, leaving the door ajar as he came and sat next to her on the bed.
"I wanted to say sorry," he said quietly, "About Linda, and your boyfriend and... Christmas." Clara shook her head.
"You don't need to apologise," she told him, sitting up and taking his hand in her own, "Linda is, and always will be, Linda. Nothing will change that. And he wasn't my boyfriend, I told you that... He was a friend though."
"You don't know where he's gone?" her dad checked, "We could look for him?"
"No," Clara said quickly, "I know where he is, but I can't go to him. Maybe I'll see him again, one day. For now, I'm just happy remembering."
"You're sure?" her dad asked, "Because you can tell me anything, Clara. You know that, don't you?" Clara nodded, a lump in her throat.
"I know," she said quietly, "... Which is why I have to go. I don't have anything to tell you yet; nothing that's worth telling. I'm going on a new adventure." Her dad stopped himself from questioning her straight away, picking a different question carefully.
"You'll stay safe?" he asked, thinking it better to avoid asking for details. Clara grinned as she climbed off the bed, picking up the old stuffed bear and resting him gently on her pillow.
"I'll learn how to," she told him, before racing from the room, leaving her father alone in her bedroom.
She ran down the stairs, only stopping at the bottom when she heard her dad shouting down to her.
"Clara!" she looked up and saw him leaning over the railing, "Be careful!" she beamed as she answered.
"I will!" she assured him, "I love you!" And then she was sprinting across the field, not stopping until she'd burst through the doors of the TARDIS, the doors swinging shut behind her, to find the new Doctor drinking tea. He looked up as she entered, smiling slightly.
"Would you care for tea?" he asked, "I found the kitchen. There's some in the tea pot."
"I don't want tea," Clara told him again, "I want to travel. I want to go on an adventure. I want to have fun."
"You seem to know about all of this, don't you?" the Doctor asked, raising his (huge) eyebrows as he gestured around at the TARDIS.
"Yes," she said, "And I know that you're the Doctor. Now take me on an adventure somewhere bizarre and impossible."
"I don't know how to fly," he reminded her, placing his teacup onto the console.
"Where's the fun in knowing," Clara said, "Without the fun of leaning how?" the Doctor studied her for a moment before turning to the console in front of him.
"How hard can it be?" he muttered. He turned to Clara again, "An adventure, you said?" Clara nodded, grinning excitedly, "Somewhere bizarre and impossible?" Clara nodded again. The Doctor started pressing buttons and switches, pushing levers to his heart's content until the wheezing of the TARDIS started up. He smiled at the sound, looking up in wonder and then back to Clara.
"I think we can manage that."
If you review I'll love you forever and I'm sorry if anything is wrong or you hated it, but it's really late (OR really early, depending on your point of view) so there's my excuse. Feedback is appreciated and I'm now going to sleep before I die of exhaustion. Thanks for reading!